KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
December 19, 2019
By Pat Baldwin
Katy Mills Mall has decked its halls with boughs of holly – and much more. Just ask Santa, who is comparing wish lists with area children and helping families enjoy shopping specials. The mall’s extensive Christmas decorations highlight a nearly complete renovation of the 20-year-old shopping center.
Photo credit: Simon Property Group
Following a major interior renovation, the 175-store shopping center is completing an exterior transformation. And the first quarter of 2020 is expected to bring a two-fold celebration of the mall’s multimillion-dollar renewal and its 20th anniversary.
General Manager Oversees Renovations
James Ross, 28, has been the Katy Mills general manager since January 2018. He moved here from Philadelphia with his wife, two-week-old son and two dogs just in time to oversee the mall’s renovations.
“The mall provides experiences you can’t replace,” Ross says.
That means physical shopping, dining and activities, and also a digital component to enhance the shopper-retailer relationship. Katy Mills has an active social media presence, and its “Be a Mall Insider” email program keeps shoppers up to date. The goal, Ross says, is to integrate the mall’s experiences for both guests and tenants.
Photo credit: Pat Baldwin
Katy Mills now boasts a contemporary dining pavilion, remodeled restrooms, plush seating areas, as well as upgraded lighting, flooring, skylights and Wi-Fi.
Families can take a break from shopping in the Disney Junior Play Zone near the AMC Theater. The play area is free, interactive and fun for kids of all ages. Ross notes that shoppers also like to pose their young children in front of the towering, numbered entrance “identifiers” to commemorate their birthdays.
Ross says they still welcome the “mall walkers” and adds that an interior lap of the mall is one mile.
Count Down to Christmas
A 24-foot Christmas tree currently serves as the mall’s centerpiece for the holiday season. As shoppers count down to Christmas, Katy Mills offers extended hours and a “FastPass & Skip the Line” procedure for Santa visits and photos. Santa will be available daily, through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. To sign up, click here.
“It’s been a wonderful holiday season,” Ross says.
Even the new, 120-foot-tall sign on I-10 features red and green lights for Christmas. Ross says the colors of the sign’s lights will change to match the occasion. He’s planning red and white for Valentine’s Day and red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. He even envisions featuring school colors for big, local sports wins.
Celebrating 20 Years
“This mall was the catalyst for growth for Katy,” Ross says.
He says Katy Mills’ parent company, Simon Property Group, reinvested in the 20-year-old mall because of the strength of the city. Ross has become active in the community and appreciates the support residents have given the shopping center. He notes the relationship is reciprocal since Katy Mills is the city’s largest taxpayer.
Increased Security Presence
Earlier this year, Ross cooperated with the Katy City Council to establish a police substation with four new police officer positions and two patrol cars. The substation, based at Katy Mills, serves the area of the city south of I-10.
Ross says he considers the police presence an amenity for tenants, shoppers and the community. Katy Mills doesn’t charge rent for the approximate 2,000 square feet of substation space.
For More Information
Katy Mills is located at 5000 Katy Mills Circle, at the intersection of I-10 West and Pin Oak Road. For more information, visit their website here.